From time to time I like to dream up trades involving the Canucks. Sometimes realistic, sometimes not. Today I’d like to take a crack at some realistic ones.
Firstly, a bit of background. Mike Gillis was on the Team 1040 last week and proclaimed that the Canucks were ‘open for business’ on the trade front and that he wanted to change the ‘change the balance’ of the team. By Mike Gillis standards, this is an earth shattering revelation. Some general managers call press conferences sans-tie, Mike Gillis is more subtle. Gillis will drop hints, and this was a hint.
Of course it should come as no surprise that Mike Gillis might be looking to bolster his lineup. This is a team that is poised to make another run for the cup, but it is not without flaws. Last year Gillis added Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre at the trade deadline, and both moves proved to be strokes of genius. They were brought in to provide depth on the fourth line and ended up both playing key roles on the 2nd and 3rd lines.
The Canucks’ needs this year are a little different. The recent injury to Sami Salo has highlighted once again how dependent they are on the fragile Finn. A defenceman who would step up into a top four role if needed would be welcomed, as it is becoming more and more clear that Keith Ballard is not fit for that role. The Canucks could also use some grit on their forward lines.
The Canucks don’t have a lot of players on their roster that they would like to deal that also have significant value, but Mason Raymond is one of them. With David Booth, Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen, the Canucks have a lot of guys that can do what Mason Raymond does. Because of that, I think Raymond is expendable (although I have been saying this for about three years with Raymond).
Of course, any player the Canucks acquire has to fit under the salary cap. The Canucks don’t have a lot of cap space, but you don’t need a lot of cap space if you acquire a player at the end of the year.
So who’s available? I’m not sure, but I can take some educated guesses. Lets take a look:
Contract: One year left, $875,000
Doug MacLean from Sportsnet got the ball rolling today on the possibility of George Parros heading to Vancouver today on a Toronto radio station. Parros would give the Canucks something they haven’t had for a couple of seasons now, a heavyweight enforcer. The question with Parros would be, can he play well enough to stay in the lineup? That’s tough to say. Parros has seen limited minutes in every postseason with the Ducks, so he wouldn’t likely see many minutes on the Canucks as well. But if Parros could come cheap enough, he might be worth a look. Having a guy like Parros to throw in the lineup if you need to help turn the momentum of a series could come in handy, if only for a game or two in the playoffs.
Contract: One year left, $3.8 million
Francois Beauchemin is a name that I haven’t heard yet this season, but given the state of the Ducks (currently 14 points out of a playoff spot) and the pending free agent status of Beauchemin, he could become available. Beauchemin would be the perfect addition to the Canucks defense. He is used to playing big minutes (he is averaging 25 minutes of ice time a night this year) and is steady and gritty. Beauchemin also knows what it takes to win a Stanley Cup, winning with Anaheim in 2007. Beauchemin likely wouldn’t come ridiculously cheap (even though he is a rental), but he would be worth it.
Contract: One year left, $1.5 million
Travis Moen would be an upgrade to Dale Weise on the Canucks fourth line. He is 6’2″, 217 lbs, has cup winning experience (Anaheim, 2007) and can play hockey pretty well too. He has a respectable 15 points, -1 and averages 15:28 of ice time on a terrible Montreal Canadiens team. Montreal will surely become sellers at the trade deadline and a guy like Travis Moen is a luxury they can’t afford. Moen would provide size, character and leadership. He’s also a guy that can handle himself against Boston’s Shawn Thornton.
Contract: One year left, $2.25 million
Another member of Montreal’s impending fire sale could be Hal Gill. The hulking 6’7″, 244 lbs defenceman is 36 years old and is slow as molasses. He has also proven himself to be a valuable defenceman come playoff time in the last few seasons. He wouldn’t need to play in a top 4 role in Vancouver, but could likely fill-in should the need arise. He doesn’t fit the Canucks mold per say, but he is an upgrade on Andrew Alberts.
Contract: One year left, $4.55 million
Ok, I know the Coyotes probably don’t want to get rid of Shane Doan. He is their Trevor Linden. But what if they do? Trevor Linden was traded once upon a time. So was Ryan Smyth out of Edmonton. Doan is a big power forward that is probably best suited to a role on the second line. He has never played beyond the first round of the playoffs, but is likely hungrier than anyone in the league for playoff hockey. He loves life in Phoenix, but he’s also 35 years old. Sooner or later, he’s got to want a chance to win. Getting a guy like Shane Doan won’t be cheap, even though he is a rental. The Canucks would likely have to give up a guy like Mason Raymond, maybe more. As long as it’s not too much more, I would pull the trigger.